Charlotte O'Shea, founder and Managing Director of Rock My Ltd, lives in the West Midlands with her husband, James, and their beautiful daughter, Mabel.
The vast 'Rock My' empire grew from a single blog. Since its launch in 2009, Rock My Wedding has become a multi-award winning planning and inspiration site frequented by thousands of engaged couples on a daily basis.
'I initially considered launching a UK wedding blog during the planning of my own wedding in early 2009. I had taken so much inspiration from the States, but there simply wasn’t anything available here. After my wedding took place in May 2009, I shared my planning story on a wedding forum and, quite unexpectedly, it was really popular. I decided I had nothing to lose and launched Rock My Wedding in the September - I figured there was clearly a substantial gap in the UK market.'
'We had such a large, yet transitional, following from early on, so I knew there was huge potential to offer alternative platforms that would provide our community with ideas and advice for the other major milestones in life once their big day was over. The idea for for some kind of interiors, fashion and beauty blog came to fruition in January 2013 when we launched Rock My Style. Even during the design stage of that I knew we would be launching a family based blog in the not too distant future. I then found out I was expecting in August 2013.'
Rock My Family launched earlier this year, covering everything from health and wellbeing to the more emotional aspects of motherhood.
'Of course we also feature the more frivolous aspects of having children, such as fashion and decor. Sometimes you just need to escape and look at something pretty! Rock My Family has been a real labour of love. We have developed such a kind, helpful and positive community and we wanted to make sure that those that were parents had somewhere they could could seek advice, share ideas and learn without any of the negativity and judgment you unfortunately see so often online.'
We asked Charlotte, who currently lives in a 3-bedroom Victorian semi in Warwickshire, to describe a typical working day.
'My husband, James, will look after Mabel first thing whilst I get ready. He then jumps in the shower whilst I dress her and pack her bag for nursery or her Grandparents house - we have childcare from Monday to Thursday. I will then pick her up anytime from around 5pm and we’ll play games until Daddy gets home. Sometimes she’ll sit and eat dinner with us or, if we decide not to cook until after bedtime, we’ll go for a walk or perhaps to the park for half an hour until it’s time to get her ready for bed.'
'Fridays are my favourite as Mabel and I get to spend the whole day together. We’ll sometimes meet up with my NCT friends and their babies, go shopping or play in the garden, depending on the weather. As we move into winter, I envisage more days spent on the sofa watching television or reading books. I’m keen to do more crafts and cooking activities with her once she’s a little older and can understand and enjoy creating and baking.'
Charlotte and her team recently signed a wedding book deal with Ebury Publishing. Due to launch in Spring 2017, it’s a very exciting and full-on project.
'I imagine next year will be spent focussing heavily on the content and design. We also have two other major projects in the pipeline. I can’t share details quite yet, but watch this space! We never seem to be happy unless we’re working on several things all at once!'
With so many projects on the go, achieving a good work/life balance has become even more important for Charlotte, and often more difficult to achieve.
'I am very strict with myself - and far more organised than ever before. We are lucky enough to be in a financial position to now employ a team of 9. When we first started it was 90 hour weeks, late nights and far too much caffeine. Now we have talented staff that are more than capable of driving the business forward.'
'That’s not to say I don’t work hard, just that I do it between the hours of 8.30am and 5pm. If I do have work to complete on an evening or a weekend and it affects the time I spend with Mabel, I’ll endeavour to make it up the following week. I use my time as wisely as I possibly can. I’m by no means perfect, sometimes balls inevitably get dropped, but I certainly worry about it far less than I used to. As much as I love my job, my family always comes first.'
Like most mums, Charlotte recognises that motherhood is filled with both euphoric highs to some quite crippling, guilt-ridden lows.
'They say you will never know love like the love that you have for your child and 'they' are absolutely right. It’s a constant whirlwind of emotions. I went back to work a couple of months after having Mabel as, at that point, there really wasn’t much choice. I don’t believe she has suffered in any way because of it, but I wish circumstances could have been different. I’m never going to get that time back.'
'Mabel brings such joy to our lives and such entertainment. My relationship with my husband has never been better. The sleep deprivation is a challenge of course, but it is for most parents. That’s where I fail on the whole healthy eating situation..sometimes you just need a coffee and a Kit Kat!'
If she could go back in time and give her pregnant self one piece of advice, Charlotte would emphasise the need to slow down.
'I would tell myself to SLOW. THE. HELL. DOWN. Especially in the last few months. I was determined to work out most days as well as keep on top of my work commitments. Pilates, to some degree, kept me sane, supple and fit, but I used to give myself a hard time if I was too tired and just wanted to lie down, read a magazine and eat cake. If I’m lucky enough to experience pregnancy again there would definitely be more coach potato action occurring!'
We couldn't agree more. Rest and relaxation are definitely key ingredients for a happy, healthy pregnancy! You can follow Rock My Family on twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We also love Charlotte's personal Instagram feed for daily inspiration and more adorable photos of Mabel!
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